Monday 18 December 2017

Taghrooda regains market lead in Arc after track gallop

Paul Hanagan celebrates after riding Taghrooda to win The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July
Paul Hanagan celebrates after riding Taghrooda to win The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Taghrooda has clawed her way back to the head of the market for the Prix de l'Arc Triomphe after pleasing connections in a piece of work under Paul Hanagan on Newmarket's famous Rowley Mile.

John Gosden was forced to retire his star colt Kingman on Monday and has conceded that might yet cost him the trainers' title in Britain. However, his other sensational three-year-old is firmly on course for a bold tilt at Europe's most illustrious Flat race.

After suffering a first defeat when chinned by Tapestry in the Yorkshire Oaks, Taghrooda forfeited her status as market-leader for the €5m Longchamp Group One on October 5.

Since then, Australia has effectively been ruled out of the race in favour of either the Champion Stakes or QEII at Ascot later in the month, the runaway German Derby victor Sea The Moon has been retired and Treve has again failed to recapture the scintillating form that saw her triumph in last year's Arc.

Jean-Claude Rouget's unbeaten French Oaks winner Avenir Certain had been vying for Arc favouritism with the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Taghrooda.

Following upbeat reports after yesterday's racecourse blowout, though, Gosden's brilliant Oaks and King George heroine is once again the clear favourite at as low as 4/1.

"She worked this morning and, touch wood, it went well," Maktoum's racing manager Angus Gold said of Taghrooda's gallop.

"Paul was very happy with her. She looked good, moved well and seemed enthusiastic, so it's so far, so good. The plan is very much to go for the Arc.

"Today was a case of taking her away to give her a change of scenery. She'll have another gallop.

"I don't know when, it will be up to John. The main thing was she seemed enthusiastic and Paul was delighted with her."


Three-year-olds have dominated the Arc in recent times, as have fillies even more recently. In the last 20 years, the Classic crop has failed to win the race on just four occasions.

Urban Sea, dam of both John Oxx's exceptional 2009 Arc winner Sea The Stars and Ballydoyle's 2001 Derby winner Galileo, recorded a famous success in 1993, but there was then a 15-year gap to Zarkava in 2008.

Derby heroes Sea The Stars and Workforce won the next two Arcs, but the last three have now gone to the female of the species, Danedream and Solemia preceding Treve.

Despite the likely absence of Australia and the definite non-participation of Sea The Moon and Kingman, three-year-olds still dominate the betting for the great race, with Elie Lellouche's progressive Hurricane Run colt Ectot vying for second-favouritism with Avenir Certain at odds of between 5/1 and 7/1.

Roger Varian's St Leger winner Kingston Hill is also popular at a top price of 12/1, and Dermot Weld's massively exciting Free Eagle trades at similar odds, with a decision yet to be made on whether he will tackle the 12-furlong French showpiece or the Champion Stakes over a mile-and-a-quarter.

The Cambridgeshire Festival commences on the Rowley Mile this afternoon. There is no Irish-trained runner, but Jim Bolger's narrow Moyglare Stud Stakes runner-up Lucida will be a leading player in tomorrow's Group Two Rockfel Stakes.

Compass Hill, which finished second to Lucida on its Naas debut, could yet step up to Group One company for the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in a month's time.

Irish Independent

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